Monday, January 19, 2009

First Post

My first post is about flying in Alice Springs. I started working at the company i am at now around 3 months ago. Pretty good gig, flying Cessna 210 aircraft for the time being. We have a fleet of 16 aeroplanes. This consists of C21o's, Barons, Cessna 402C's and Piper Chieftans. We mostly do government contracts, flying various people, such as nurses, doctors and technicians to name a few. We are also contracted to fly the mail to the remote communities. The bulk fo this is done in the C210 aircraft.

So the bulk of my stories and photos will be from these mailruns. A lot of the guys dont like doing the mailruns as they tend to be longer days with lots of stops (up to 19 on one particular run), and prefer to do the charter side of things. Personally i dont mind what im doing. The mailruns are good for hours, and you dont have to deal with passengers in a small confined area, when its only 18 degrees celius at 9500, in crazy thermals that probably ride up to flightlevels. On the other hand, there are a lot of variables, such as weather, the conditions of the strips and ensuring the right community gets the right mail and freight. ( I will talk about mail and freight. Mail refers to the actually post bags that we dropped off at work. Freight refers to parcels and items which have been paid to be delivered through our company)

The charter side of things is fairly simple. Usually a passenger will turn up to the terminal and i simply load them and their baggage and fly to a destination. Much easier, but usually less hours and sometimes our clientelle are less than desirable.

So this mailrun relates to one of the longer days we do. It doesnt have that many stops but covers a lot of distance as we fly over 2 hours to our first stop. On the way to the first stop we pass right over Ayers Rock aerodrome and the rock itself.

Onwards we go, and eventually arrive at a small dirt strip called Wingellina. Virutally all of these communities are Aboriginal and have the odd handyman and staff of nurses working at them to provide the needed services. Often they are quite run down and its very undesirable to do an overnight.

We continue on to a few communities where we see a King Air and the Chieftan that carries the passengers on the same mailrun. We wait here till he has completed the passenger manifests and continue onto the next stop.

We eventually refuel at a place Warburton around Midday. We wait here and rendezvous with another mail plane and collect the items that need to go back to Alice Springs and give him the items that need to continue to Kalgoorlie. We have two more stops and then its back to Alice Springs. Its been a very hot day and the outside air temperature read over 40 degrees celcius on the ground.
Eventually we head back into Alice Springs dodging the cell in the picture below. There were another 3 thunderstorms approaching alice from the West and and North that was threatening to close the airport. Just under 8 hours of flight time and a well earned beer after doing the required paperwork and cleaning the aircraft.

Thanks for reading. My next trip will cover Tennant Creek and doing the mailrun that goes all way to the Gulf of Carpentaria in the tropical region of Northern Australia, into Queensland.


  1. Hi Mike,
    That looks like some really interesting flying you do. What a great way to build up those hours. Is any airline job in your future plans?


  2. Hi Len,

    Thanks for stopping by! Yeh the flying is real good at this company. Having done scenics for the past year i was stoked to get a proper charter gig. The C210 is a great single engine plane, and we have good progression to twin at this place.

    Yes, i would eventually like to get to the airlines, and to be honest the 757/767 series would be my number one pick, however in Australian/Asian aviation that will probably never happen.

    Cheers Mike.

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